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Worship Preview 5.26.24 Strangely Warmed: The Foundations of Methodism

First United Methodist Church         


This Sunday: 10:30am – Heritage Sunday: “Strangely Warmed: The Foundations of Methodism” Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching. Scriptures: Romans 8, Isaiah 6:1-8, Ephesians 3:14–21.


Last week we celebrated Pentecost and the movement of the Spirit as told in Acts 2. In his journal for May 24th, 1738, John Wesley briefly recounts his faith journey and struggles. He writes “In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a Society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ; Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”


It is a remarkable moment that continues to bear fruit for the Church – and Wesley’s faith journey was far from over. In fact, the next paragraph outlines a challenge and call for evidence of joy! Yet this day marks Wesley as receiving an assurance of faith that relieved his deepest struggles and motivated him for the rest of his remarkable life.


Methodism started as a renewal movement within the Anglican church in England after Charles and John each had experiences of “a strangely warmed heart” in 1738, on May 21st and 24th respectively. At our best, we remember that kind of Spirit guided, invitational, and wonder filled faith. Each of our Scriptures this week talk about an assurance of faith and how we respond.


This week and next, as we worship; seek such an assurance ourselves; and renew our commitment to follow Christ, we will talk a bit about the history of the United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations and why we are organized as we are. We will remember the circuit riders of old and celebrate our connectional system. We’ll remember the “Christmas Conference” of 1784 that established a governance model featuring an Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch with checks and balances 3-4 years before the United States Constitution established those familiar 3 branches for our nation! We will touch on our Articles of Religion and Social Principles, which are found in the Book of Discipline that organizes our life together, and we’ll remember that Methodism is not about agreeing to a specific creed but living our individual faith out in community. We are called to both personal and social holiness. We are called to an active faith. The recently concluded General Conference made a lot of headlines and helped us return to a focus on what we agree about rather than arguing over what we don’t. I think John Wesley would be pleased – precisely because we have an opportunity to focus on becoming more Christlike – individually and collectively, and thus transform the world. It is an exciting time in the United Methodist Church and here at First UMC and you are invited to journey with us, coming just as you are, with your questions, doubts and hopes - and to experience the transformative, healing love and grace of Christ - which makes us whole. Visit for more information on what to expect. Blessings on your journey!


Upcoming Events: 


Wednesday, May 29th,  5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at


June 17th – 21st, We are hosting VBS this year. We continue to partner with our friends at First Presbyterian but will host Vacation Bible School in our building this time. Mark your calendar for June 17th – 21st 5:30-8pm. Register at or visit either church office! Plan to bring your kids or grandkids for a great week of faith and fun rooted in Scripture and then celebrate with us at a combined worship service 10:30am, Sunday, June 23rd here at 301 S. National with a potluck to follow!


Friday, June 28th, 1-4pm  Shepherd’s Center / Adventures in Learning

Our focus in June will be on downsizing and evaluating legacy items. Our speakers will include Tara SolimonSmith, Ginger Nance and Rosemary Harris (from Barbwire Roses). This event is free, and while aimed at retired adults, anyone interested in the topics is welcome to attend. Refreshments provided. Then on July 26 we have invited Austin Bolinger from Tri-Valley on gardening, Matt Chaplin from Landmark Bank on avoiding scams and John Bartlesmeyer on appraisals. If you have suggestions on speakers or topics, we are still finalizing our August 23 and September 27 schedules. Contact the First UMC office (620) 223-1950 with your input!





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